Price ignores a sore rib and a charging McNulty

 

Nick Price overcame the closing challenge of fellow Zimbabwean Mark McNulty yesterday to win his second Zimbabwe Open in three years by two shots. Price, winner in 1995, closed with a 68 for a 19-under-par total of 269 at Chapman Golf Club in Harare.

McNulty, who birdied the last two holes for a 69, finished joint second with South Africa's Brenden Pappas. Pappas, who stormed back in only 32, carded 66, the low round of the day.

South African Tjaart van der Walt held the outright lead at 17under after three straight birdies in his first five holes, but errors on six and seven dropped him to fourth place with a 70 for 272.

For Price, the tournament was an unqualified success. He is entirely happy with his form going into next week's Million-Dollar Challenge at Sun City, as well as with his overall fitness.

Price came to Harare a little apprehensive about the rib injury which he picked up at the world matchplay championship at Wentworth last month, but he believes the warm African weather has played a significant role in its improvement.

Price feels his form is close to his best. "From tee to green, I think I'm playing better golf than I did during my golden period from 1993 to 1994. It's only my putting which isn't quite there."

Final Scores (South African unless stated)

269 - N Price (Zim) 68 67 66 68.

271 - M McNulty (Zim) 68 68 66 69, B Pappas 70 67 68 66.

272 - T van der Walt 68 69 65 70.

273 - A Cruse 70 68 67 68.

274 - J Kingston 65 67 75 67.

275 - N Kamungeremu (Zim) 68 74 65 68.

277 - W Coetsee 69 68 68 72.

278 - H Swart 72 67 64 75.

279 - D van Staden 71 68 71 69, T Johnstone (Zim) 71 71 68 69, M Murless 66 70 73 70, D Fichardt 67 64 73 75.

Mitsutaka Kusakabe birdied the final hole to win the £737,000 Casio World Open by one stroke in Ibusuki, Japan, yesterday. Kusakabe overtook Jumbo Ozaki, the Japanese tour's leading money winner, when Ozaki bogeyed the last three holes. It was the 29-yearold Kusakabe's first victory this season and second in his career.

"I had a high target to beat Jumbo. I tried not to look at the scoreboard until the last hole," said Kusakabe, who shot a twounder-par 70, with four birdies and two bogeys, and finished at 10-under on 278.

Overnight leader Hirofumi Miyase shot a 72.

Final Scores (Japanese unless noted)

278 - M Kusakabe 69 68 71 70.

279 - K Fukabori 69 71 70 69; N Ozaki 67 68 74 70; H Miyase 69 70 68 72. 280 - S Maruyama 68 74 70 68; R Kawagishi 70 71 70 69; M A Jimenez (Spa) 71 71 69 69; B Watts (US) 70 69 71 70; B Jobe (US) 70 71 69 70; M Ozaki 67 71 71 71.

281 - F Funk (US) 71 70 74 66; M Brooks (US) 70 73 70 68.

282 - E Herrera (Col) 73 71 69 69; K J Duk (SKor) 71 71 71 69; D Ishii (US) 68 74 70 70; T Watanabe 71 70 70 71.

283 - H Tanaka 70 71 74 68; H Meshiai 72 68 74 69; S Ginn (Aus) 72 72 70 69.

284 - T Suzuki 73 71 73 67; K Tomori 71 73 71 69; T Nakamura 69 72 72 71; Y Mizumaki 72 71 70 71; K Hosokawa 70 70 71 73.